Magic Reversed
by Kenneth McIntosh
CandleWood Young Adult

"Ma is dead, gone forever, and I'm not likely ever find Da and the others either. My entire village is gone."

Young Finn MacDugal, a Scoti slave of the Angles (Anglo-Saxons) finds himself in quite a predicament when the draugar (living dead) attack the village of his captors. In the ensuing battle with the undead, he is able to escape, but is followed by his master’s headstrong daughter, Freya, who wants to avenge her father’s battle injury. Finn finds out that he is the Chosen One, who must end the plague of the living corpses and save all Albion (British Isles). Freya and Finn embark on a quest to defeat the vicious hordes, which are quickly spreading across the land. They are aided by a Pictish warrior, Nectan, and Mother Sima, a nun who serves Iosa (Christ). Together, they must journey to find and defeat the Dark God and the Cauldron of Rebirth from which the draugar come forth.

This is a well-written historical fantasy, and McIntosh does a great job of painting a correct historical portrait of what life was like in the British Isles after the Roman conquest. The book melds ancient legends and the nascent religion of Christianity in the year 610, to which by that time many of the Scoti (Scotts) have converted. The story also illuminates the many cultures that inhabited the British Isles in those times. The writing style and the story arc are engaging, as tension builds throughout and keeps the readers on the edge of their seat to find out what happens in the next chapter. This is a great novel for historical fantasy lovers and students of old Celtic and Germanic cultures.

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